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Russia To 'Study' U.S. Shield, START Proposals

Russia has threatened to station Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia will study Washington's proposals on an antimissile system and on how to find a replacement for a key nuclear arms-reduction treaty, Interfax has quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry source as saying.

The United States has sent Moscow proposals for a follow-on to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and on ways to ease Moscow's concerns over the antimissile system that Washington wants to deploy in Eastern Europe.

"We have received these proposals and we will study them," the Interfax news agency quoted the unidentified source as saying.

Russia's willingness to consider the proposals suggests it has not turned its back on talks with the United States, despite plans announced this week to station missiles near Poland in response to the U.S. missile-defense system.

Russia wants to find a replacement for the 1991 START treaty, which set ceilings on the size of Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals but expires in December 2008.

The Kremlin is deeply concerned by Washington's plans to deploy its antimissile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

President Dmitry Medvedev this week pledged to deploy missiles in the Kaliningrad region, which neighbors Poland, to counter the U.S. system. Moscow says the system is a direct threat to Russian national security.

The United States denies this and says it is intended to protect against "rogue" states like Iran.